Charlotte Holmes, Paul Bunyan and Anarky: books read

Much as I loved A Study In Charlotte, Brittany Cavallaro’s follow-up adventure, THE LAST OF AUGUST disappointed me. Modern-day descendants Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes spend the holidays with Holmes’ decidedly eccentric family only to witness her mother collapse from poison provided by one of the Moriarty clan. As that family have some scores to settle with the kids, Charlotte and Jamie gets shipped to her brother’s security firm in Germany where they wind up taking on a Moriarty-backed art-theft ring.

All of which could have been a fun story, but the focus is on whether Charlotte and Jamie should be friends or a couple — which both assume means having sex. No dating (admittedly they’re close enough to skip that), no getting to first base, it’s all about hitting the home run, which seems unreasonable. So does Jamie’s assumption that if Charlotte says no to sex or even no for now, he’s been rejected — given that Cavallaro gave her a rape backstory in the first book (vaguely alluded to as the reason she’s reluctant to go all the way), this makes him quite the jerk.

Plus the ending makes absolutely no sense. It’s a tangle of multiple reveals and hidden motivations to the point I couldn’t keep track of who was doing what to whom and why. And then comes an ending twist which didn’t work at all. I’ll try V3 eventually and see if the series gets back to good, but it won’t be for a while.

When I bought Linda S. Watts’ THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE I assumed it would be a collection of legends and folklore like several of my English folklore books. Instead it reads like a textbook about the concept of folklore: various figures who’ve become legends (Lizzie Borden, Daniel Boone), important topics (death, birthdays), but giving very little of the related folklore. The handful of articles on actual legend such as Paul Bunyan weren’t enough to get me to finish this.

BATMAN: ANARKY by Alan Grant collects the early appearances of his teenage anarchist anti-hero as an adversary for Batman, then the four issue limited series followed by the disappointing regular series that died after eight issues. Much as I like the idea of the character, this was overall disappointing. The stories are fun, but Anarky’s political arguments are platitudes (free your mind! Think independently!) — I’d be much more interested if he had specific suggestions (but I fully realize a lot of people didn’t). And the Anarky series, like the later series, is way too cosmic, and not even good cosmic (as Darkseid’s great goal is to eliminate free will and impose anti-life on the cosmos, his discussion with a champion of freedom should have had much more punch). Though Anarky co-creator Norm Breyfogle’s cover is killer.

And I’ve also posted at Atomic Junkshop about the convoluted politics of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu series (an expanded version of something I wrote here some years back).

#SFWAPro. All rights to cover remain with current holder.

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